This project explores the contrasting frameworks of the museum and the art gallery by installing the same sculptures of fake biological specimens in a natural history museum and an art gallery. Museums use display conventions familiar to visitors, developed over time to communicate knowledge to a non-expert audience within established and accepted narratives. Contemporary art galleries in many ways take the opposite approach: the white walls of the gallery are meant to create a “neutral” environment, a blank canvas for the artwork on display. These objects are not yet canonized, the neutrality of the space invites viewers to critique what they see and decide if it is important or interesting.
By installing my own hand-made specimens in both the Braunschweig Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum and the gallery at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig, borrowing display conventions from both realms, I will be mediating these different frameworks. While in the museum, these sculptures will call visitors attention to the hierarchical system they take for granted, and encourage them to think more critically when viewing and interacting with the displays there. When installed in the art gallery a non-art audience will feel empowered by the recognizable elements adopted from the museum to engage with the work in an atmosphere that is often designed to exclude them.